The past year has not been kind to any of us. While things are slowly looking up, we’ve been through a lot of grief, defeat, loss and hardships to get there. I often find myself thinking, if this past year hasn’t changed us for the better, nothing will.
It has been a challenging and heartbreaking year on many fronts, while on the other hand it has been life-affirming and humbling. When I look through the blog posts of this past year, I notice my words have lapsed into a silence that reflects my frame of mind for most of the year. Barring the few CoviMusings and the stories I wrote about Appa and family, my posts were predominantly about the artwork I drew and the workshops with my sisters where we gossiped, sang, laughed and drew wonderful art together.
I have definitely developed a case of writer’s block. I haven’t really dwelled on the reasons much. But as I find the words to write about this past year, I see why this has been so. My hands have never been cleaner, and my heart has never been heavier. The months of hearing about someone you distantly know losing a friend or family to the months where someone you knew directly lost someone to the pandemic, it does have an impact whether we know it at the time or not. Along with the sadness of hearing and processing the news comes the relief and gratitude that it wasn’t one of your family members.
Then that day arrives when it is your own family or friend. Dread fills up your entire being while you try and stay positive and pray to all the Gods and the Universes you believe in. You see a friend, a single mother manage getting infected and taking care of her young daughter all by herself. You see a couple in your family go through various levels of the disease until they’re in the clear. You see it all, and you think you’ve moved on.
Then the day comes when life is beginning to go back to normal. Working from office and not from home becomes the new normal. Life comes back in full force with all its pressures. You have forgotten what it meant to dress up for work and how long it took. Make up has by now become a distant memory and you look at your make up kit like a stranger turned up at your doorstep. Like it or not, you have to be around humanity everyday, meet people face to face, bump fists or elbows. A person walking by you with their mask down is a shock at first, but eventually you learn not to visibly cringe and just safely maintain distance and walk on. You learn not to touch anything you don’t need to.
With every step back into the new normal, your hands continue to be the cleanest version of themselves. Your trust in others around you doing the right thing slowly comes back as you see the effort everyone around you is genuinely taking and hope the ones who seem to be overconfident about their life and of others around them stay as far away from you as possible.
But it’s your heart that tells you the worst is over, or will be over soon. That heavy heart that you’ve been carrying around for a couple of years now slowly begins to lighten its load as indicators of recovery made themselves known all around you.
While this has not probably been the pattern of events for everyone around the world, slowly but surely the signs are there. At some level or the other, we all feel the heaviness slowly lifting. And what is taking its place is a ray of light that brings that wonderful emotion to clear the darkness – hope.
I hope to write more in the coming days. I hope to find the words stuck in my soul as I’ve found them for my fifth anniversary post. When nothing else makes sense, let’s always remember to hold on to hope.
But most of all, I hope the world as we knew it comes back soon in a safer version of itself where everyone sees how much of a role each of us play in keeping this and any future pandemics at bay. And we all do our part to get there.
Illustration Photo Credit – Yos Photography